The Debtor, Ready and Unashamed!

Friday, November 9, 2018

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:14-16 KJV).

Behold, dear brethren, Pauline evangelism in one succinct passage!

  • “I am debtor” (verse 14) — “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” The Apostle Paul understood that he had an obligation or duty to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God to all people—whether Greek or Barbarian (non-Greek), both the “cultured and educated” and the “unrefined and simple.” “…Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5c-7).
  • “I am ready” (verse 15) — “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Paul was prepared, aware of his marching orders, and compliant with the Holy Spirit’s working within him. “[Christ] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:28,29).
  • “I am not ashamed” (verse 16) — “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Paul knew that just as Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was sufficient payment for his sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), that Gospel of Grace was trustworthy in taking care of all the sins of all those precious souls to whom he preached so fervently. If they would simply believe that Gospel message, God’s power would yank them from their path to Hell and send them on their way to Heaven!

Sanctified Through God’s Truth

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for His followers in Israel’s program (especially His Apostles—verse 12). He would do likewise for us today in the Dispensation of Grace.

Sanctification is not to be confused with justification. The former is to be “set apart for the purpose for which God intended;” the latter means “declared righteous before God.” One must be justified (righteousness imputed to his account) before he can be sanctified (useful to God’s work—“holy,” a “saint”).

Just moments before His arrest, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane communes with Father God by praying throughout John chapter 17. Verse 8 is crucial to grasping today’s Scripture: “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Now, verse 14: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

The Lord was not praying for His followers to be saved unto eternal life (they were already justified). What He desired was spiritual fruit, their identity in Him being manifested in the form of works. Father God’s Word—which He (Jesus) had just taught them for over three years—would be how the Holy Father would use those men for His purposes. He would send His Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2) to empower them according to the words He had already given them in Christ’s earthly ministry. That message would be further expanded once the Holy Spirit came (see John 14:26; John 15:25-27; John 16:7-14).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Saints, God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—will effectually work in us on a daily basis if we believe it. Then, we too will be “sanctified through [God’s] truth!”

Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #7

Sunday, October 28, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

Friend, you will most likely agree with the next statement. There is nothing more exasperating than having a Bible, reading it and reading it and reading it, and yet getting nothing out of it. Millions upon millions upon millions of poor, precious souls find themselves in the same predicament. They faithfully attend church services weekly or even daily, they hear the Bible read or sung, and yet they gain as much insight into God’s Word as if there never was a Bible! What is the first step in understanding and enjoying Scripture?

Philip was entrusted with the ability of interpreting God’s Word whereas the Ethiopian eunuch was not. What made the difference? Acts 8:29 says that the Holy Spirit was involved: He was operating in and through Philip! In stark contrast, the eunuch was filled with nothing but religious tradition and human viewpoint. The eunuch learned firsthand that philosophy and man’s opinions are no substitute for God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1-16)! Philip is a believer in Christ and the eunuch is not; the former has the Holy Spirit, and the latter does not. Yet, the eunuch was seeking the truth, and God honored that heart attitude.

“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” the eunuch proclaimed in verse 37. Through Philip, the Holy Spirit had personally taught him from the Isaiah scroll. He had seen truths he would have never known otherwise. Verse 39 closes with his water baptism, and when the Spirit of the Lord snatches up Philip to preach elsewhere, the eunuch goes on his way “rejoicing.” What delight the eunuch now has as he goes on home to Ethiopia! “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162).

333’s 2700th – The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

Sunday, October 21, 2018

These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14,15 KJV).

Dear brethren, only by God’s grace, devotional #2700 has arrived!

One faithful reader just commented—like others have through the years—that our studies are direct (to the point). There is little, if any, deviation from the study’s theme. Of course, this is all by design, as the author intended that from day 1! He knows that so many poor souls have been overwhelmed concerning Scripture. The way they have been taught to approach the Bible is exceedingly arduous, quite complicated, wholly confusing. He knows those frustrations firsthand, and has thus striven to help you, the readers, avoid as much of that spiritual darkness and superfluity as possible.

Friends, these past 2,700 days have been a real joy! 🙂 Such tremendous spiritual changes have occurred in us all, so praise our Lord Jesus Christ! Indeed, when we “just release the lion from his cage, he will defend himself.” We simply distributed God’s Word, and it took care of itself. Almighty God does not need us, but we have been given the privilege of sharing the Holy Scriptures with others. What an honor!

We the Body of Christ are “the house of God… the church of the living God” (today’s Scripture). His Holy Spirit lives in and through us as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). We are “the pillar and ground of the truth.” As a “pillar,” we hold the truth up high, displaying it for all to see. We are the “ground” because we support, maintain, or undergird the truth. This is not a denominational system, organized religion, advocating pet doctrines and opinions of men; rather, it is the true Church the Body of Christ proclaiming the Word of Christ, that the Word of Christ might dwell in them richly (Colossians 3:16), that Christ might be formed in them (Galatians 4:19).

Thank you for your prayerful support. Onward now to higher ground, and devotional #2800! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is it sinful for women to wear makeup?

Translated Judgment #7

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

First Corinthians chapter 14 outlines the six rules that regulated the gift of tongues (which gift the Corinthians were abusing). When the Holy Spirit was involved, these six principles were always in place. Any deviation, even slightly, meant that the experience was artificial and satanic. Someone was striving in his or her flesh to mimic or counterfeit God’s work.

Primarily, tongues served as a sign to the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Secondly, twoor maximum, three—individuals were to speak in tongues during one meeting (verse 27). Thirdly, the speakers had to take turns, and not talk over each other (verse 27). Fourthly, the tongue had to be translated or the speaker was to remain silent (verses 27,28). Fifthly, only men spoke in tongues (verses 34,35). Lastly, there was to be decency, order, self-control (verse 40). These six rules describe the only type of speaking in tongues the Holy Spirit has ever (!) endorsed!

It was particularly important that tongues be translated. This interpretation allowed unsaved Jews to not only hear a foreign language (recognizing God’s judgment on their nation), but also learn God’s Word in their own native tongue (whatever it happened to be). An intelligible message, as opposed to gibberish, afforded them an opportunity to be convicted of their sin and converted to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Now that that Acts transitional period is over, God dealing with Israel has passed, so the spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Corinthians 8:8-13). We have a completed Bible, total revelation from God, and thus temporary spiritual gifts and fragmentary revelation are unnecessary (2 Timothy 3:16,17; cf. Colossians 1:25-27).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?” and Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?

Translated Judgment #2

Monday, September 17, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Romans 11:11-14 is the best commentary on the purpose of Paul’s Acts ministry, a most-confused topic that should be quite easy to grasp (provided we do not have a theological system to maintain!): “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

During the Acts transitional period, the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to conduct his ministry in such a way so as to “provoke” unbelieving Israel to “jealousy.” Unsaved Jews were to be concerned that God had left them and had now gone to the Gentiles (non-Jews, nations) without them. How was Israel to get this communication though? Paul behaved in a most “bizarre” way during Acts: God was not operating Israel’s program through him but was rather showing how it was giving way to our mystery program. If any unsaved Jews were to enter God’s family, they would have to “emulate” (or follow) the Gentiles in coming to faith in Christ and thus join the Body of Christ.

As Paul preached his Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) in Acts, today’s Scripture says God had the Gentiles declare something to unbelieving Israel as well….

Seminary Silliness

Saturday, September 15, 2018

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9,10 KJV).

Recently, I noticed much verbosity, rambling, outright nonsense in a Bible commentary. When I looked on the book’s back cover, I discovered the author’s problem. His three seminary degrees afforded him no clear insight into Scripture!

Nevertheless, since he had to say something (or risk looking like a know-nothing), he used human philosophy to try to “explain” verses. How disastrous! If there is no indwelling Holy Spirit—as in a lost or unsaved person—then there is no capacity to understand the Bible. If the person is saved, but quenches or suppresses the Holy Spirit (by using human wisdom, religious tradition, et cetera), His teaching and enlightening ministry is reduced. Consequently, many Bible commentators, preachers, and teachers can read verses and still be in total spiritual darkness.

Human wisdom is no substitute for Divine understanding. First Corinthians chapter 2 continues after today’s Scripture: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural [unsaved] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).